Years went by before I thought about what happened the night my virginity was stolen. I journaled the details as they played back in my mind through a letter I wrote to my mother as part of my healing process.
I had planned on waiting until marriage to give myself to my husband. I heard in youth group the best way to start a marriage is to be sexually pure. But everything changed after my parent’s divorce.
As I wrote the letter to my mother almost twenty years after Josh raped me, I remembered a conversation just days before my boyfriend had broken up with me. My mother had suggested I go on the pill. She knew I was dating an older guy and she feared I would become pregnant. She explained that older guys would expect me to have sex with them.
Years later anger poured out of me as I scribbled the memories on the page of my journal. I realized my mother had given me permission to have sex. She had told me guys expected it. Her words caused me to question the idea of the sanctity of marriage. Instead of telling me to save and value myself she told me to give myself away.
I realized that when Josh pushed his way into me I never fought him, I never yelled, I never ran-away, but I succumbed. I never told anyone. I thought it was my fault. I never should have gone to my girlfriend’s house to visit her brother when no one else was home. But was I asking for sex? I had told Josh “no”, but he never listened. He took what was mine. He raped me, but I never called it rape. Could it be that I thought he expected sex and I should give in to him, because of what my mother told me?
From that point on, at sixteen, I vowed that no one would dump me at my doorstep again like Josh had done. Next time I would be good enough, not to be rejected. When my ex-boyfriend returned to me I won him over sexually. I secured my place in his life by moving into his apartment before my senior year of high school.
Although I knew he cheated on me, he smoked, he drank, and he had no ambition for his life I feared that I would never find someone else to love me. Finally, after two and a half years my mother’s loving words gave me confidence and courage to leave that unhealthy relationship behind. She said, “Kirsten, you’re a special young lady and you deserve so much better than Ed. I love you and I want you to move back home.”
My mother’s words changed the direction of my life. She spoke truth to me in love when I was heading down the wrong road with the wrong man.
Josh’s choice led me down a path to win a man over by being sexual. Josh is only partially to blame, as are my father’s comments toward women, his infidelity, abandonment and betrayal of our family. Today I also blame the music, movies, and media that encourage women to be sexual and promiscuous. But ultimately the choice was mine.
I chose to turn from God and go down the wide road that led to my destruction.
God was calling me to forgive Josh as I wrote the memories on the page of my journal. I decided to believe that my friend’s brother didn’t fully understand the impact of his selfish choice to take my innocence. I looked to Jesus as my example. If Jesus could say, after being brutally beat and nailed to a cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34) then I could forgive Josh.
When I started praying for God to bless Josh, I knew I truly forgave him. I wanted Josh to know God’s healing. Jesus died for Josh and for me. God showed us grace, the free gift of salvation, with Jesus death on a cross. He took the punishment of our sin. I must show Josh and others the same undeserved grace that I receive from a forgiving God. When I do, I am set free to love.
We are confused, wounded and broken children looking for love. I can now see the pain and woundedness of those who hurt me. We try to fill the God void in our lives with the temporary self-gratification of sex, material possessions, wealth, and power. I learned that only Jesus can satisfy our hearts desire for what we most long for: to be loved. He will heal our brokenness and help us to forgive those who hurt us when we ask.
I have experienced freedom from the bondage of bitterness to help others who are struggling with past pain that is causing conflict in their lives. Through my book and classes many are living the abundant life that Christ promised. I help people recognize the lies and deception of the enemy that keeps people from experiencing all that God has for them and replacing those lies with the truth of God’s Word. Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Are you ready for an abundant life? Healing can happen for you.
God’s Word to Live By:
I will bring health and healing; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. (Jeremiah 33:6,8)
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. (Micah 7:18)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:43)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. (1 John 2:12)
Posted by Kirsten Strawn on November 3, 2014
God is a God of perfect peace, not confusion. He offers us His love and His peace through His presence. The question is, how do we obtain more of His presence to experience more of His love and peace?
First, we must desire to be complete in Christ and conformed into His image. Originally, God created us in His image. Yet when sin entered the world we became corrupt and separated from Him. The good news is when Christ died for us our old nature died and we became a new creation when we surrendered our life to Him. Daily we are conformed into His image as we die to self to live for Christ.
The second way we receive the love and peace of God is to be a comfort to others. Through our struggles God comforts us through His Word, the Holy Spirit, and His people. There is no greater joy than to take the focus off of self to minister hope, healing, and comfort to those who are suffering in a similar way that we once did.
The third way to receive peace is to be around like-minded people who are seeking after the Lord to know Him, follow Him, and serve Him. Being with people who support us in prayer, encouragement, and godly counsel ensures more success at living according to God’s ways. This allows us to experience the love of Jesus through His people to produce more peaceful relationships.
Finally, to experience God’s peace we must seek to live at peace with the people in our lives to the best of our ability. What does this look like when we encounter difficult people? Ask God for wisdom to understand their pain, perspective, and personality. With a humble heart we seek to clarify, not argue. With a thankful heart we edify, not criticize. With a generous spirit we give, not take. With a desire for their well-being we protect, not destroy. We seek to speak truth in love, not to deceive through empty words to placate.
God desires for us to experience His peace. By resting in Him, meditating on His promises, and spending time in prayer we reflect His perfect peace to His people.
How are you experiencing God’s love and peace?
Promise from God:
Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Corin. 13:11).
Pray with me:
We praise You, Lord, that You make us complete in Christ who dwells in us to conform us into His image. Thank You that You are a God of comfort and compassion who comforts us so we can comfort others. Thank You that in the body of the church we can find like-minded people who follow after You. We seek to live in peace to the best of our ability so that there is nothing to separate us from You. Search our heart to reveal any sin of bitterness, pride, or fear that may hinder us from Your perfect peace. Today we long to live according to Your ways that we may experience Your love and peace more abundantly. In Jesus’ name we trust You for this, all for Your glory and praise. Amen.
Posted by Kirsten Strawn on April 14, 2014
As you know, life can get busy. And in our busyness we can encounter conflict at home, in the workplace, community, and even at church. In fact, we all struggle from time to time with people we know and love. At least I do.
Recently, I was reminded that I need to take the time to “fight” to maintain good healthy relationships. We’re in a spiritual battle and it’s impossible to do life on our own. That’s why God designed the church. We need each other!
Sometimes, it takes a little tune-up with some practical advice, a Word of truth, and powerful prayer to get back on track. The good news is that God wants to transform our lives.
That’s why I’m a Faith Coach! I love to help people experience God and the abundant life He has for them.
Come be with me for my next class at the San Diego Rock Church. http://www.sdrock.com/rocku/216/overcome-conflict-with-confidence/.
This class should be fun! You know me, I’m passionate about what I teach, which helps after a long day at work. No boring stuff from me! Instead, I guarantee entertaining and transparent stories with engaging conversation that will keep you alert. And maybe even on the edge of your seat.
I really want to connect! I want to help. I want to pray for healing and reconciliation. I want God to do more than we can ask or imagine with the power at work within us, all for His glory and praise.
If you’re busy, out of town, and cannot come to this class, please consider buying my book for yourself or someone you know and love. Check out what people are saying on Amazon. And if you’ve already read my book, will you consider writing an honest review and telling someone about my book? Your endorsement is always appreciated.
My heart’s desire is for you and your loved ones to experience a life of victory. I want to be a part of that process. So let’s stay connected. Sign-up to receive my blog at http://www.KirstenStrawn.com.
Leading You To Abundant Life.
Schedule me to speak.
Posted by Kirsten Strawn on April 13, 2014
A spiritual battle wages war in the heavenly realms of this world wanting to pull us away from God. Fortunately, God gives us the arsenal to do the battle against our Adversary, the Devil, and his demons.
According to God’s Word we discover that we have the power to conquer the enemy. Every time we encounter arguments, destructive thinking, and temptation we can resist through the powerful Word of God. Yet, we must know it to proclaim it.
Our weapons also include the Holy Spirit that gives us internal power to overcome Satan who lurks around like a roaring lion wanting to lure us into temptation. He wants to render us ineffective by whispering lies of doubt, fear of rejection, failure, and self-sufficiency. Besides deceiving us through music, media, and movies, he uses people to cause conflict.
The good news is that Jesus died to conquer death and destruction of the enemy by pouring out His blood. We are covered, cleansed, and purified when we accept His sacrifice to pay the penalty of our sin.
Not only is there power in the blood of Jesus that gives us spiritual life, but we have power by professing His name. Call on the name of Jesus when You face trials, temptation, and danger. Jesus will rescue you! By His name we overcome the enemy and those spiritual strongholds that have us or others believing lies of destruction.
Memorize God’s precious promises to live a powerful and victorious life without regret, with heavenly purpose, and to please Him. God has mighty plans to give you hope, to prosper you with peace and joy beyond belief. Let us not forget the wonderful weapon of praise, thanksgiving, and the privilege of petitioning our loving Father through prayer. Remember God has graciously given you weapons of warfare, use them wisely to conquer the enemy of this world to proclaim your power in Christ.
Promise from God:
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corin. 10:4-5).
Pray with me: We praise You, O Lord, that You are with us and for us as we do battle against the evil of this world. Thank You for the mighty weapons of our warfare. You have given us the Word of truth that pierces the heart like a double edge sword. Thank you that we can conquer the lies of the enemy by holding our thoughts captive to the truth of Your Word. Thank You that by the power of Your Holy Spirit we can conquer our fleshly desires to follow You without regret. Thank you for the weapon of Jesus’ blood that purifies us of all sin to conquer death and give life. Thank you for the power of Jesus’ name to cast down demons, spiritual strongholds, and saves us in times of trouble and temptation. Lord, help us today to meditate on this powerful promise. May we memorize the truth of Your Word to live the victorious life You have planned and purposed for us. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.
Posted by Kirsten Strawn on April 11, 2014